DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that we are living in this new reality of social distancing, I am already having a serious challenge with my teenage son. He is accustomed to being able to hang out with his friends as long as he comes home by his curfew. School is out for the foreseeable future, and he does not understand why in the world he has to stay at home and cannot hang with his friends. His argument is that the government says people shouldn’t get together in large crowds. If he is going to be with a couple of kids, he argues, what’s the big deal?
Honestly, I don’t even know what the rule will be by the time this letter gets to you. We could actually be quarantined by law. Whatever the case, I feel like I cannot allow my son to go out with his friends until we have some real sense that the danger is over. No official has a sense of how long that will be, although recent reports said it could be as far away as the fall. How do I control my teenage son for all this time? -- Teen Frenzy
DEAR TEEN FRENZY: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was on the news recently (as of this writing) saying that it may be impossible for parents to control their teens for the foreseeable future. He spoke of the nature of teens wanting to be together and the reality of trying to curb this virus being a convergence of opposing forces.
That said, medical professionals and civic leaders are urging all of us, including teens, to keep our distance from each other for weeks, if not months.
Government officials are saying that they will take action against anyone, including young people, who gather in groups larger than 10. As far as hanging out with a couple of friends, unless your son is able to get to his friends without being in others’ company and you are sure that the friend has been in limited company, exposure is still questionable.
How do you control this? Remind your son that this self-isolation is not forever. If he does his part, more people will remain healthy, even though it’s hard to do.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I gave money to a crowdfunding campaign for a woman I know peripherally through work. I often think about her and wonder whether she is OK. I wish she had posted an update on her health. Since she didn’t, do you think it would be all right to check in with her to see how she’s doing? I don’t want to be nosy, but she did a full-on campaign for money for what sounded like a life-threatening disease. I'm not asking for details. I would just like to have a sense of whether or not she is OK, or if she needs anything. Can I check in with her? -- Post-Crowdfunding
DEAR POST-CROWDFUNDING: It seems reasonable that you should be able to reach out to this woman to ask how she’s doing. You can send her an email, text or note through the fundraising platform saying that you know she wasn’t feeling well. Ask her how she is managing. Tell her you are thinking of her and hope that she is on the mend.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)